The 2019 Summit League season didn’t start the way that the Omaha women’s soccer team would have preferred.
Opening their season on the road at Western Illinois, last year’s last place team in the Summit League, the Mavericks found themselves on the losing end of a close 1-0 game. The lone goal of that game came off a penalty kick from the Leatherneck’s Jenna Lundgren.
Many teams, when faced with a setback like this, might have found it difficult to bounce back. However, when Omaha took on North Dakota State in their next game, bouncing back is exactly what they did, as they flipped their fortunes and won the game 1-0.
Playing on Thursday, Oct. 11, the Mavericks faced what was essentially a must-win game as they sought to avoid starting conference play 0-2. The Bison came into this game 1-0 in the Summit League, after defeating South Dakota 2-1. Overall, the Bison had a record of 6-4-1.
One of the reasons for North Dakota State’s success this season was the play of standout senior Elyse Huber. Huber came into the night leading all players in the Summit League with 10 goals on the season.
The Omaha defense made a change to cope with Huber’s scoring prowess. Instead of playing a typical four defenders in the back, the Mavericks lined up with a more defensive back five. The change of tactics proved effective, as Huber was kept from scoring and allowed only three shots.
While the tactical shift towards a more defensive game plan could have adversely affected the Maverick offense, the team seemed to have no problem creating scoring chances. The best chance in the game came in the eighth minute of the match. Senior Abby Meader, playing as a left-back as opposed to her unusual left-wing role, took the ball and dribbled through several North Dakota players before hitting a low shot right past the Bison goalkeeper. The goal was Meader’s first for the Mavericks since scoring against Creighton on Sep. 16 of 2017.
The 1-0 lead would stand for the rest of the game as Omaha held on and won their first game in Summit League play. The score line was a familiar one for the Mavericks, as it was the ninth straight game they’ve played that was decided by such a margin.
The Mavericks will back in action at Caniglia Field on Oct. 13, playing South Dakota State. The match can be watched on OMavs.com.